Lucky Wurzels fan uncovers ‘lost’ Adge Cutler recording...
A keen Wurzels fan has uncovered a unique and, until now, presumed lost test recording that Adge made with his Wurzels in 1966 at EMI’s Abbey Road, Studio 2. The recording, made on a metal disc with wax-like coating, was machined directly from the demo tapes laid down in the studio to persuade the EMI chairman Joseph Lockwood into giving the band a recording contract. The story is told well in Adge’s recent biography by John Hudson:
- In 1966 John Miles, Adge’s first manager, already had a few groups under his wing so he managed to persuade EMIs record producer Bob Barrett that this local west country band were worth a try. Bob was always up for something different, and so when John told him about the Wurzels with his well-rehearsed cider and manure line, he booked studio 2 at Abbey Road (home to the Beatles.)
"We’d got props, milk churns and bales of straw and so on, packed them all into the van" he said.
"When we were on the outskirts of London I stopped the van and told them to get into their Wurzel gear, with Adge muttering that it was all bloody ridiculous!
When we drove into Abbey Road they all jumped out, I pushed this milk churn and it bounced on the tarmac, straw was blowing everywhere in the wind, and up in the windows all the secretaries were looking out wondering what on earth was happening”. After the kerfuffle died down somewhat and the band were taking their equipment into the studio, John Miles saw a grey-haired, charismatic looking sort of chap talking to Bob Barratt. Bob then brought him over and said to me "I'd like to introduce you to the chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood." He said "John, Bob has been telling me about "Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, and I've asked him to let me have the tapes at the end of the day"
I told the boys the news, and urged them to do a good job. They did, Adge sang all his numbers, and a few day later Bob said the chairman had told him the Wurzels had to be signed.-
The original tapes have long been thought lost - and the two tracks ‘Champion Dung Spreader’ and ‘Twice Daily’ appearing on the recently discovered disc are probably all that remains from the Abbey Road session. The lucky handful of people who have been privileged to listen to the songs all agree that they show Adge at his very best – both tracks are upbeat, lively and clear with Adge clearly relaxed in surroundings more formal than he was used to in the local pubs of Somerset! Interestingly, both songs are slightly different than later recordings that he made – the lyrics being those he meticulously laid down in his 1965 diary - they underwent some changes before they appeared on his first album and singles.
December 1966 – the world would never be the same again! A band of strangely dressed men with odd looking instruments leapt on stage at the ‘Royal Oak Inn’ Nailsea, Somerset and proceeded to record a ‘live’ album for the EMI record company. This was Adge Cutler & The Wurzels’ first LP and it sold in massive numbers, quickly followed by a single which charted nationally and then an EP “Scrumpy & Western” – this was the start of a musical revolution that is still going strong nearly 50 years later!